Enlightenment through Sand

Back in the mid-80s we had a lunatic competitive sand sculpture team. We practiced every weekend, rain or shine. The first year out we won the World Championships up in Canada, a huge International competition in Tampa and the US Open in San Diego. The Triple Crown so to speak

Well, we just couldn't get enough. We hadn't competed in nearly a month when we found out about an upcoming Mom and Pop contest with a small cash prize - We couldn't help ourselves. We entered the competition, knowing full well that it was an amateur, family style event. We arrived on the beach with a couple tons of forms and equipment that morning and set out to build a 15', 50 ton castle in a contest where the average project size was about 5 tons.

Hubris is a hell of a thing. With about five minutes left in the competition we removed the final form and the entire thing, 15 feet of it, promptly collapsed in a giant wave of sand. Virtually everything was gone except for a 5 foot tall cone of sand in the center of the site. The horn sounded signaling the end of the competition. We were simply too over-optimistic of the sand quality and were so intent on 'going tall' that we had cut some corners compacting the sand.

As it turns out, we won. What we were unaware of was when we arrived on the beach with all that equipment and 'sand commando' zeal, everyone in our category decided to drop out of the competition. When what had happened finally sank in I think we all felt a bit guilty about discouraging amateurs and 'cherry picking' in an amateur event. We were young. It never happened again.

©Sandscapes 2011

Close Window